A staggering 31 percent of triathletes suffer from muscle or tendon injuries during training.
They never expect that it will happen to them. But when it does, their hard work and dreams can go up in flames in ther blink of an eye.
That’s why nourishing your body and muscles during training is crucial to your success.
You may focus on nutrients that increase endurance, strength, speed, or mass. But how you recover is what allows you to stay out there working toward your goals.
Let’s explore the most important minerals and vitamins for muscle recovery.
1) Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a key role in muscle repair. It’s also a potent antioxidant. This means that it helps your body destroy free radicals that can damage your cells.
When you train for a triathlon, oxidative stress occurs in your muscles.
A study showed that taking 400-3000 milligrams of vitamin C a day could reduce muscle pain. It also allowed people to heal faster.
They tested consumption both before and after. The before group experienced much better results. This proves that what you consume before exercise is as important as what you consume after training when dealing with recovery.
Another study showed that vitamin C reduces the production of cortisol. The hormone cortisol is most commonly associated with increased appetite. But it also causes inflammation, which slows recovery.
Where to Get Vitamin C Naturally
You can get vitamin C from foods like:
- Bell Peppers
- Hot peppers
2) Vitamin D
It’s believed that as many as 10 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient. If you live in a cooler climate or have a darker skin tone, you’re more likely to experience this issue.
Vitamin D deficiency leads to weaker muscles, joints, and bones in addition to other illnesses. It takes longer to recover and you’re more likely to suffer from injuries.
Proper vitamin D intake can increase muscle mass and strength as well as reduce muscle pain and recovery time.
How to Get Vitamin D Naturally
The vast majority of vitamin D comes from the sun. Your body produces it when the rays hit your skin. But even if you spend time training outside, you could still be deficient if you tend to cover up from head to toe.
To increase your vitamin D intake, expose more of your body to sunshine.
Most health experts recommend taking supplements to prevent deficiencies.
This is among the vitamins for muscle recovery that you probably need more of.
3) Vitamin E
You store vitamin E in the mitochondria. You may remember from high school biology that that’s the powerhouse of your cells. It helps generate the “electricity” that powers your muscles.
Vitamin E deficiencies can lead to injury and prolonged muscle recovery time. Lack of this vital nutrient will also cause your muscle to exhaust sooner.
While muscle fatigue is often part of a workout routine, it may increase your risk of injury.
Since vitamin E is also an antioxidant, it reduces the free radical damage that occurs during training.
Studies on vitamin E are mixed. It has been shown to reduce oxidative stress but not inflammation. You’ll need other vitamins for muscle recovery that complement it for that.
How to Get Vitamin E Naturally
You can find it in foods like:
- Nuts & Seeds
- Sweet Potatoes
Iron helps your blood transport oxygen. People who are iron-deficient often feel tired because oxygen isn’t freely moving through their bodies.
Oxygen is necessary to keep your cells alive and functioning optimally. Take it out of the equation and it doesn’t matter what kinds of other supplements you’re taking.
Muscles can’t perform or recover properly without this nutrient.
How to Get Iron Naturally
To boost your iron intake, eat more:
- Red meat
- Fatty fish like tuna and salmon
- Beans and legumes
- Kale and leafy greens
Calcium works with vitamin D to strengthen your bones, joints, and muscles.
It helps regulate blood clotting, which is one of the ways your immune system handles injuries. It’s also essential for the transmission of nerve signals.
Nerves help cells communicate with the brain so that it can respond to various stimuli. If your muscles are fatigued, you need healthy nerves to communicate that with the brain.
The brain, in turn, will provide the adequate response.
How to Get Calcium Naturally
You can get more calcium by eating:
Magnesium helps your muscles relax. A relaxed body can heal more quickly. It also helps your body produce more insulin, which helps break down glucose for energy.
How to Get Magnesium Naturally
Magnesium is an electrolyte, so it’s commonly used in sports drinks.
You can also obtain it from foods like:
- Nuts and seeds
- Dried fruit
But don’t overdo it! Magnesium is also a well-known laxative, hence the brand name “Milk of Magnesia”.
Many athletes find this out all too late. A run to the restroom is no way to end your workout.
7) B-Complex Vitamins
There are several B vitamins for muscle recovery. They all work very closely together.
B-complex vitamins help the body break down protein and carbs more efficiently. You need both these nutrients for muscle repair.
Vitamin B deficiency is commonly known to cause muscle aches and fatigue, even in non-athletes.
How to Get Vitamin B Naturally
It’s hard to overdose on vitamin B especially if you get most of it through foods like:
- Swiss chard
- Whole grains
Vitamins for Muscle Recovery
If you’re training as a triathlete, take special care during recovery. What you do off the track is what allows you to perform on it.
Make sure you’re getting these vitamins for muscle recovery in your diet. Listen to your body. If you think you’re deficient, take supplements.
For more health and training tips for the triathlete, check out our blog!